A Novena to St. Therese of Lisieux

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The next novena we’re going to pray as a community is one of our favorites, it’s the St. Therese of Lisieux Novena! You can share your prayer intentions with us all below in the comments.

Pope Pius X called St. Therese “the greatest saint of modern times.” She’s well known for her “little way” spirituality of doing small, ordinary things with extraordinary love. She wrote in her autobiography, “What matters in life is not great deeds, but great love.”

We will start praying this novena on Thursday, September 22nd.

St. Therese suffered a great deal in her life. She lost her mom when she was a young girl. One of her older sisters became like a second mother to her, and St. Therese missed her when her sister entered a convent. St. Therese also suffered from chronic illness and depression. Through it all, she continued to look towards Jesus.

She’s a great example for all of us — a reminder to cling to Jesus through whatever each of us may be going through right now. Let’s look to Jesus!

You can sign up to pray with us here:

https://www.praymorenovenas.com/st-therese-novena

We’re looking forward to praying with you and for you! 

God bless you!

John-Paul & Annie – PrayMoreNovenas.com

Novenas You Can Pray in September

The Church celebrates the feast days of many holy men and women in September and early October. Join us in honoring these saints by praying one or more of these novenas this month. 

Follow along with the prayers on our website or sign up to have the daily prayers sent straight to your inbox. 

Novena of the Holy Cross

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on September 14. This feast commemorates St. Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine, uncovering the true Cross of Christ and the dedication of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher built over the site where it was found. 

After it was uncovered, the Cross quickly became an object of veneration, as it symbolizes the love of God the Father and our salvation. Reflect on this great gift and bring your special intention to the Cross with this novena beginning September 5. 

Novena to Our Lady of Sorrows

Christian art often depicts Mary’s heart pierced by seven swords, representing the sorrows she faced alongside her Son. The Church dedicates the entire month of September to remembering these Seven Sorrows of Our Lady. 

Take comfort in knowing that whatever difficulty, sorrow, or grief you face, the Blessed Mother knows your pain and will bring you closer to her Son through it. Begin this novena on September 6 to finish in time for the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows on September 15. 

Novena to Saint Joseph of Cupertino

St. Joseph of Cupertino joined the Conventual Franciscans and despite extreme difficulties in his studies, he was ordained a priest for the order. He is often called “the Flying Friar” because he levitated when deep in prayer. 

For these reasons, the Church considers St. Joseph of Cupertino as a patron saint for test takers, students, mental handicaps, air travelers, astronauts, and pilots. If you are heading back to school or traveling this month, or if you simply have an intention you’d like prayers for, pray this novena to St. Joseph of Cupertino beginning on September 9. 

Novena to Saint Matthew
After hearing Jesus’ call and leaving his life as a tax collector, St. Matthew became one of the twelve apostles and later wrote one of the Gospels. 

Because of his occupation, he is considered the patron saint of bankers and accountants, and is also a good saint to turn to when facing financial difficulties. 

The novena to St. Matthew begins September 12 and ends on his feast day September 21.

Novena to Saint Padre Pio

Padre Pio is one of the most recognizable saints of the 20th Century. During his life as a humble Capuchin priest, God gifted Padre Pio with some of the most incredible gifts including bilocation and the stigmata. 

He also became known for working miracles both during his life on earth and after his death. If you need a miracle in your life, ask for Padre Pio’s intercession with this novena beginning September 14.

Novena to Our Lady Undoer of Knots

The devotion to Our Lady Undoer of Knots began with a reflection from St. Ireneaus. He said: “The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by the obedience of Mary; what the virgin Eve bound by her unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosened by her faith.”

Just as Mary’s “yes” untied the knot caused by sin, she can guide us to greater faith and help alleviate the difficulties we face in this life. When you have “knots” that seem too difficult to untangle, bring them to the Blessed Mother with this powerful novena that begins September 19.

Novena to Saint Michael

On September 29, the Church celebrates Michaelmas or the Feast of the Archangels–St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and St. Raphael. 

Although not by name, St. Michael does appear in Sacred Scripture, and is described as the “Great Prince and defender of [God’s] people,” so the Church calls upon him for protection from evil and for healing. He guards the faithful on earth and is considered the patron of soldiers, police officers, and doctors.

Pray to the “Prince of the Angels” with the Saint Michael Novena beginning on September 20. 

Novena to Saint Therese of Lisieux

Even though she lived much of her short life as a cloistered Carmelite, St. Therese of Lisieux (also known as “The Little Flower”)  is one of the most beloved saints in Church history. Pope Pius X even called her the “greatest saint of modern times.”  

St. Therese’s writings offered the simple but profound spiritual truth of doing small things with great love, a message that still resonates with the faithful today. For this reason, John Paul II declared her a Doctor of the Church, making her the youngest saint to receive the honor. 

Begin the novena to this powerful saint on September 22 to end on her feast day. 

Novena to the Guardian Angels

Many Catholics don’t often think about their Guardian Angels, let alone pray to them. But these heavenly friends of ours are a gift from God and want to be a part of our lives. 

They offer us guidance and protection as we go about our lives and desire to lead us safely to heaven. Recognize their presence in your life, and ask for their prayers and help with this novena by praying this novena on September 23-October 2. 

Novena to Saint Francis of Assisi

Francis of Assisi is arguably the most well-known and influential Catholic saint both in religious and secular circles. 

Founder of the Franciscan Order, St. Francis lived a life marked by prayer, humility, and a love of poverty. He recognized his total dependence on the grace of God, allowing him to fully love all those he encountered. 

Learn from the example of St. Francis and celebrate his feast day on October 4 by praying this novena beginning September 25. 

Novena to Our Lady of the Rosary

This title of the Blessed Mother goes back to the 1500s. Pope Saint Pius V established this feast to thank God for the victory of the Christians in the battle of Lepanto–a victory attributed to the intercession of Our Lady through the rosary. 

Many great saints have spoken about the power of praying the Rosary, through which we grow closer to the Blessed Mother who in turn leads us closer to her Son. Mary is the most powerful intercessor we have. Bring your intentions to Our Lady of the Rosary with this novena beginning on September 28. 

Novena to Our Lady of Good Remedy

The title of Our Lady of Good Remedy was given to Mary in the 1100s by St. John of Matha to honor her and offer her thanks. 

St. John began the Brothers of the Most Holy Trinity, or the the Trinitarians, who devoted themselves to freeing Christians who had been kidnapped and sold into slavery. The Trinitarians had a deep devotion to Our Lady–daughter of the Father, Mother of the Son, and Spouse of the Holy Spirit. They invoked her intercession in their work and for all of their needs.

You can also approach Our Lady with your intentions, trusting her to be the “remedy” for all your needs with this novena. While it can be prayed at any time, you begin this novena to Our Lady of Good Remedy on September 29 if you want to end on her feast. 

Do you plan to pray any of these novenas this month? Leave a comment and let us know. And as always, please feel free to leave your prayer intentions with us below. 

Married Saints, Their Stories, and Novenas to Them

Not all saints wore a collar or a habit; many holy men and women grew in sanctity through their vocation to marriage and family life. 

Whether you’re preparing for marriage, newlywed life, or celebrating your golden anniversary, these married saints will serve as examples of holiness and intercessors for you and your spouse. 

Saints Joachim and Anne

While not much is known about Sts. Joachim and Anne one can assume their virtue from having immaculately conceived and raised the woman who would become the Mother of God.  

Tradition holds that they suffered from infertility for many years before giving birth to the Blessed Mother. It is also believed that they consecrated their daughter to God at a young age since Mary remained a virgin all her life.

Although we lack primary sources to tell us about their lives, Joachim and Anne can serve as role models for all parents; we should seek to emulate their love of Our Lady and their devotion to God. 

Bring your intentions to the grandparents of our Lord with this novena prayer. 

Saints Louis and Zelie Martin 

Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin made Church history by becoming the first married couple canonized together. 

Before they met, both Louis Martin and Zelie Guerin wanted to enter religious life; however, God soon made it clear that He had different plans for them. 

Louis and Zelie lived the first year of their marriage as celibates, and later changed their minds at the advice of the spiritual director. The couple went on to have nine children, four of whom sadly died immaturely. After Zelie’s death, the remaining five daughters all went on to become Carmelite nuns. 

This couple and their example of holiness not only influenced the lives of their children, but also the Church up until today, as their youngest daughter St. Therese of Lisieux went on to become one of the most-well known and beloved saints.

Invoke the intercession of this saintly couple for your marriage and your children.

Saint Monica

St. Monica’s parents arranged for her to marry a pagan Patricius who was infamous for his temper and promiscuousness. She suffered for many years in their marriage due to his infidelity and her argumentative mother-in-law.

Patricius often criticized Monica for her piety; however, her example and fervent prayers eventually softened the hearts of both Patricius and his mother, and they were both later baptized. Her perseverance also changed the heart of her wayward son Augustine who went on to become one of the greatest saints and philosophers within the Church. For this reason, she is considered the patron saint of wives and mothers, as well as difficult relationships.

St. Monica is clearly a powerful intercessor and you can ask for her prayers for any intention, but especially for your spouse and family with this novena. 

Saint Gianna

St. Gianna, a pediatric physician and an avid skier/mountain climber, married Pietro Molla in 1955. As illustrated through their letters, they were a godly couple who encouraged one another in holiness. Together they had four children. 

During her pregnancy with their fourth child, doctors discovered a tumor in Gianna’s uterus. She allowed for the doctors to remove the tumor, but declined the recommended hysterectomy that would have taken the life of her unborn daughter. Shortly after the birth, Gianna died of an infection caused by postoperative complications.

Gianna is known for her heroic “yes” to life and is considered a patroness of mothers and unborn children. Invite her to pray for your intentions with her novena.

Saint Thomas More

St. Thomas More was an English lawyer and statesman, as well as a philosopher, author, and scholar. He was also a devoted husband and father to his four children. 

King Henry VIII trusted Thomas More with many responsibilities and eventually appointed him as Lord Chancellor. However, when Henry wanted to divorce Catherine of Aragon in order to marry Anne Boleyn, More would not support him. And when Henry began the Church of England, breaking ties with Rome, he stood strong in his faith. 

For his conviction to the truth, Thomas More was martyred. As you live your married life in an age where Truth is often challenged, saints like Thomas More can help you remain rooted in God. 

Saint Margaret of Scotland

St. Margaret of Scotland was the daughter of Princess Agatha of Hungary and the Anglo-Saxon Prince Edward Atheling, as well as the great niece of St. Edward the Confessor. Although not originally from Scotland, she and her family arrived after fleeing from William the Conqueror. 

She captivated King Malcolm with her beauty and good graces and they were later married. She helped her husband become a virtuous ruler and he even consulted her affairs of the state. She worked for educational and religious reform within Scotland, performed many works of mercy among the poor, and lived a prayerful life as a wife, mother, and queen. 

Find the novena to St. Margaret of Scotland here.

Saint Rita

Despite her desire to become a religious sister, the parents of St. Rita of Cascia had already arranged for her to marry a cruel and violent man. When he was murdered 18 years later, she prayed her two sons who wanted to avenge their father would instead forgive his killer. Her prayer was answered and her sons, who died young, remained free from this mortal sin. 

After the death of her husband and sons, St. Rita joined the Augustinians in Cascia where she lived the last forty years of her life in prayer. It was during this time that St. Rita received a partial stigmata–a wound on her head–that allowed her to more fully enter into the Passion of the Lord. 

Saint Rita is considered the patron saint of difficult marriages and of impossible causes.

Saint Louis IX

Saint Louis IX reigned as the King of France in the 1200s. As monarch, he was known for his fairness and for his devotion to the Catholic faith. He had a very happy and holy marriage with his wife Margaret and together they had 11 children.

Louis led the Seventh Crusade in which he was captured by the Mohammedans but was released when a truce was declared. Years later he and three of his sons fought in the Eighth Crusade. He became the first (and only) French king canonized a saint. 

The Blessed Mother and St. Joseph

Of course, no list of married saints would be complete without the mention of the holiest couple–Mary and St. Joseph. 

Despite their personal perfection, they faced many difficulties during their marriage–an unexpected pregnancy, fleeing their homeland to protect their child, and the promise of immense sorrow for both Mary and their son. 

Through every joy and challenge, Mary and Joseph relied totally on God’s grace and trusted their lives fully to the service of the Lord. Because of their “yes” –both as individuals and as a couple–Jesus could fulfill His salvific mission. 

Ask the Holy Family to help you follow their example and give your life and marriage to God. 

The History of Novenas

The word “novena” comes from the Latin word novem which means “nine” as they involve nine days of prayer for a specific petition or grace.

Novenas have long been a part of the Church’s spiritually treasury–both in public prayer and private devotion. But where did this practice originate? 

A Scriptural Blueprint

We actually hear about the first “novena” in Sacred Scripture in Acts of the Apostles. 

After the Ascension, Christ’s apostles alongside the Blessed Mother gathered together in the Upper Room and devoted themselves to constant prayer:

When they entered the city they went to the upper room where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 

All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers (Acts 1:13-14).

Nine days later, the Holy Spirit descended upon them at Pentecost, pouring out grace and spiritual gifts. 

These nine days became a model of prayer for many Christians, and have been used to develop several devotions that involve nine days or nine months of prayer for a specific intention. 

Putting it into Practice

The practice of nine days of prayer for a specific purpose may have developed more widely in the Church by “baptizing” a similar ancient Roman practice. 

The Romans would often celebrate nine days of prayer to avert a predicted tragedy, offer thanksgiving, or to mourn someone’s death. Similarly, the early Christians did have a custom of offering nine days of masses and prayers for a newly departed soul.  

In addition to the novena of mourning, different types of novenas began to emerge over time. 

Novenas of Preparation began in the Middle Ages, particularly in Spain, with the faithful praying an anticipatory novena leading up to Christmas. At this same time, Novenas of Petition rose in popularity in France and Belgium with prayers to particular saints to recover health. 

During this period, some members of the Church hierarchy expressed concern with Novenas of Petition, as they feared the faithful might use this form of prayer superstitiously. 

However, during the papacy of Pope Pius IX the Church officially recommended a large number of novenas, like the Novena to the Holy Trinity and the Immaculate Conception Novena by granting indulgences to those who prayed them. Having novenas recognized and approved by the Church paved the way for more widespread use of this devotion among the faithful. 

As more novenas were written, novenas shifted from a primarily public devotion to a more private one, as people began calling on saints that held some personal significance to them. 

Rooted in Our Creed

The belief in an eternal life and in the Communion of Saints have shaped the Catholic understanding of the intercession of saints since the days of the early Church. In fact, many Church Fathers and Doctors of the Church have spoken of its importance from as early as the 3rd Century.  

In 1545, the Council of Trent explicitly defined the Church’s teaching on saintly intercession: 

“…the saints who reign together with Christ offer up their own prayers to God for men. It is good and useful suppliantly to invoke them, and to have recourse to their prayers, aid, and help for obtaining benefits from God, through His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, Who alone is our Redeemer and Savior.”

Praying a novena allows a Catholic to pray alongside the Blessed Mother and the saints for a particular request. And because these saintly brothers and sisters stand before God  in a very real and intimate way, their prayers for those on earth are particularly efficacious. 

Novenas are rooted in the example of the early Christians and beliefs fundamental to our faith, and remain a meaningful tool to deepen the spiritual life of the faithful today. 

You can search through our novenas and find one that fits for your personal intentions here.

The Four Types of Novenas

Throughout Church history, novenas have remained one of the most popular devotions among the faithful. From ancient times until today, countless members of the Church have offered nine days of prayers for a special purpose. 

Over the years, four specific types of novenas have emerged: Novenas of Mourning, Novenas of Preparation, Novenas of Petition, and Novenas of Indulgences. 

Although these categories are not completely distinctive and almost overlap with one of the other types, they just might help you find your next novena.

Novenas of Mourning

This first type of novena developed from the early Christian custom of offering nine days of masses and prayers for a newly departed soul. 

Like all Christians, Catholics believe that when a person dies their soul goes either to heaven or hell. However, unlike other Christians, Catholics also believe in Purgatory, a temporary stop on the way to heaven where souls undergo a final purification “to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven” (CCC, 1030).

Since we cannot truly know the destinations of our deceased loved ones at the time of their passing, the Church encourages us to pray for their souls. We pray that God might free them from any burden of sin and welcome them into the fullness of heaven. 

You can pray a Novena of Mourning, like the Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for someone who has passed away or for the people left to grieve for them. This type of novena not only comforts you as you process your loss, but will also comfort the Holy Soul as he or she looks forward to finally meeting God face-to-face. 

Novenas of Preparation

Novenas of Preparation look toward a major feast day or an important event like the reception of a sacrament like First Communion, a holiday, or an anniversary

These novenas began in the Middle Ages with a preparatory novena leading up to Christmas; however, over time, other anticipatory novenas were written and their popularity spread. 

If you find yourself in a season of anticipation or preparation, invite God into it with this type of prayer. Novenas of Preparation offer a chance to spiritually prepare for a special occasion and to ready oneself to receive the graces that God desires to pour out. 

Novenas of Petition

Arguably the most common type of novena are Novenas of Petition. This type of novena brings a special intention to God or invokes the intercession of a Saint. 

The Church encourages us to turn to Christ, through His Blessed Mother and with the help from the saints, with our every need. 

The Church has also come to entrust certain situations or petitions to particular saints that held some connection to the intention in their lifetime. 

For instance, St. Jude is the patron saint of lost causes and St. Dymphna is the patron saint for those struggling with anxiety and depression.

You can bring any need or intention you hold in your heart to the Lord through praying a novena.  You can pray to find a job, for greater surrender to God’s will, or for healing. You can pray for someone affected by cancer, hoping to conceive a child, or preparing for exams.

No request is too big or too small for Him.

Novenas of Indulgences

Novenas of Indulgence or Novenas of Penance offer an opportunity to remove the temporal punishment of sin. 

When we sin, we face two types of consequences: eternal and temporal. While Confession forgives the eternal consequence of sin, it does not necessarily remove all temporal punishment. We can do that through prayer and penance, through time in purgatory, or through the obtaining of indulgences. 

The Church offers partial and plenary indulgences for the recitation of more than 30 novenas. Most Novenas of Indulgences often overlap with Novenas of Preparation for definitive feast days, like the Divine Mercy Novena which begins Good Friday and ends on Divine Mercy Sunday or the Immaculate Conception (Nov. 30- Dec.8). 

While many of these novenas have a suggested “start date,” you can pray them whenever you would like or need. 

Pray More Novenas offers each novena in its entirety on our website. You can even sign up to have the daily prayer sent straight to your inbox to accompany you during the duration of the novena! 

Answered Prayers from the Novena for Marriage & Family, 2022

Thank you so much for joining us in praying the Novena for Marriage & Family! If you’ve had any of your prayers answered throughout this novena, you can share those with us all below. To God be the glory!

We are continuing to pray for you every day. Do not give up on hope. Jesus is with you and you are not forgotten.

God bless you!

Saints Who Suffered & Novenas to Pray for Mental Health

Mental illness can be an excruciating struggle and cross that many people carry. It’s important to acknowledge that mental illness is not equated with sinfulness or unholiness. Plenty of saints have struggled with their mental health and ended up in heaven with God (where there will be no anxiety, depression, etc.). There is always hope! And the Lord is with you in every struggle.

As Christians we know that Jesus is the ultimate healer, but please don’t be afraid to seek professional help when necessary; there is strength in doing so. Of course, either way, prayer is essential and there are a lot of novenas to pray for the sake of your mental health or someone you care about. Here are a few novenas to get you started!

​​St. Dymphna

Saint Dymphna was born in Ireland during the 7th century. She is the patron saint of those suffering from depression and anxiety. You can pray the St. Dymphna Novena for Anxiety and Depression here. 

St. Louis Martin

St. Louis was a devoted husband of St. Zelie Martin and father of many, one of whom was St. Therese of Lisieux. At the end of his life, he suffered from dementia and had to be admitted to an asylum for three years; this was a sorrow anddifficulty not only for Martin but for his children who loved him. He courageously accepted the cross God gave him, even remarking that “this trial is a mercy.”; you can pray this novena to St. Zelie Martin for healing, humility, and/or courage.

St. Therese

St. Therese, the daughter of St. Louis and Zelie Martin, is known for her little way as well as for her sensitive soul. She’s thought to have suffered from depression and possibly from OCD. She would be a great intercessor for any mental health difficulties and sufferings. You can pray the St. Therese Novena here.

St. Alphonsa

St. Alphonsa was a religious sister in the early 1900s in India. She endured many sufferings throughout her life including teasing in school, various physical health issues, and toward the end of her life, mental trauma. While in the Poor Clares, a thief entered her room at night and she was so frightened that she suffered amnesia for a lengthy period. Pray this novena to St. Alphonsa and ask her to pray for you!

Mother Angelica

Mother Angelica had a difficult early life. She was a child of divorce, abandoned by her father at the age of five, and witnessed her mother’s depression. In high school, she was given medication for anxiety. She is a great example of someone who struggled with mental health then made a 180, dedicated her entire life to God, and overcame the illness. Pray this novena and ask Mother Angelica to pray for you

St. John Paul II

Saint John Paul II often encouraged us to “be not afraid!” He was filled with hope, despite suffering many losses and difficult circumstances. Let us be comforted by Saint John Paul II’s reminder that “Christ took all human suffering on himself, even mental illness.” Pray this novena to St. John Paul II to never lose hope in these struggles. 

St. Margaret of Cortona

Saint Margaret of Cortona lost her mother as a child and was not treated well by her step-mother. She left home and had a son out of wedlock. After nine years, she found her lover murdered. This experience led her to a life of penance. She eventually joined a Franciscan order serving the poor and sick. Her life was centered around prayer and penance, a beautiful example of redemption. Pray this novena to St. Margaret of Cortona that our struggles and downfalls might also be redeemed.

All Saints

Praying the All Saints novena is a great way to cover all your bases, so to speak! There are bound to have been more saints who struggled with mental health than we are aware of, and of course there are so many saints in heaven who aren’t canonized or known at all. When you pray the All Saints Novena, you can call on them all to pray for you. Imagine all the possible graces!

The Novena for Difficult Times

There’s no doubt that struggling with any type or severity of mental illness is difficult. That makes this Novena for Difficult Times an easy choice for praying during a difficult time or situation.

Novena for Chronic Illness

When mental health struggles persist for a long time, it can be discouraging. This is a good time to remember God promised He would never leave us! Pray the Novena for Chronic Illness here.

Novena to Heal the Sick

You can pray this novena for yourself or someone you love, for any type of illness. Many throughout the world are in need of healing from sickness and can benefit from your prayers as well. Pray the Novena to Heal the Sick anytime.

Our Lady of Knock Novena

In 1879, Our Lady appeared to a small group of people in Knock, Ireland. She did not say anything, but shortly after, a girl was completely healed of her deafness and severe ear pain. There is now a basilica where Our Lady appeared, and it has become a place where thousands pilgrimage to each year to ask for Our Lady’s intercession for healing.You can pray this novena to Our Lady of Knock for healing.

Novena of Gratitude

Gratitude is a virtue always worth cultivating. Many mental health professionals have drawn the connection between gratitude and an improved mental health function. Let us never forget to thank God for everything we have and everything He has done for us, and just like prayer, we can make thankfulness a habit. Pray the Novena of Gratitude in hope for a mindset shift toward gratefulness, even amidst a mental illness. 

Novena to Jesus for Healing

Jesus is the ultimate healer and we are all in need of healing! How fitting it is to ask Him to heal us of our inequities and trials in whatever way gives Him the most glory. Pray this novena to Jesus for healing. 

Our Lady of Hope Novena

Struggling with mental illness can cause feelings of hopelessness. Perhaps, you or someone you know has been struggling for a long time and you’re in need of more hope. Pray this novena to Our Lady of Hope!

Novenas to Doctors of the Church

The Church gives the title “Doctor of the Church” to great saints whose writings and teachings helped shape Catholic Theology and Christian spirituality. 

These 37 men and women were given wisdom and insight of the faith that served not only the church during their lifetime but also the Church today. We look to these Doctors as examples of authentic witnesses to the Gospel and as great teachers from whom we can learn. 

While not every Doctor of the Church has their own novena prayer, we’ve rounded up all those who do: 

Saint Ambrose

Saint Ambrose went from an unbaptized layman to Bishop of Milan in just over a week. Even before his baptism, Ambrose was known for his great charity and for using his intellectual gifts to defend Christian doctrine. 

As bishop, he studied Scripture and Theology and became known for his preaching. The Church remembers Ambrose as a great theologian and defender of the faith, as well as for his pivotal role in the conversion of Saint Augustine. 

Suggested Novena Start Date: November 29
Pray the St. Ambrose Novena here.

Saint Augustine of Hippo 

After his powerful conversion from a life of self-indulgence and sin, Saint Augustine became a bishop of North Africa and one of the most influential theologians in Church history. 

He lived the rest of his life in prayer and service to the poor, not only desiring to know Truth but to teach it to others. His writings, particularly Confessions and City of God, have remained influential spiritual classics. 

Suggested Novena Start Date: August 19
Pray the St. Augustine of Hippo Novena here.

Saint Jerome 

Saint Jerome was a priest, monk, and brilliant Scripture scholar who is often considered the most learned of the Latin Fathers. He helped make the Bible more accessible to the faithful by translating almost the entire Bible from Hebrew into Latin. His translation remains the most commonly used in the Church.

Saint Jerome also wrote many works on Catholic theology and defenses against heresy, as well as extensive commentaries on Scripture.

Suggested Novena Start Date: September 22
Pray the St. Jerome Novena here.

Saint Gregory the Great 

Saint Gregory the Great served the Church as Pope from 590-604. During that time, he emphasized the Church’s missionary call to evangelization and service of the poor, and also made some important liturgical updates that we still see in the Mass today. 

The most well-known part of Saint Gregory’s legacy among the faithful is Gregorian Chant. Although he didn’t write it, the Church began to use this type of liturgical music under his papacy. For this reason, he is considered a patron saint of musicians. 

Suggested Novena Start Date: August 26
Pray the St. Gregory Novena here.

Saint Athanasius 

Known as the “Father of Orthodoxy,” Saint Athanasius boldly defended the Church from the Arian Heresy while he served as the Bishop of Alexandria. Even when the emperor wanted to relax the condemnation of Arius, Athanasius stood firm in his position. He was later described by St. Gregory of Nazianzen as “the true pillar of the church” for his commitment to truth. 

Suggested Novena Start Date: April 24
Pray the St. Athanasius Novena here.

Saint John Chrysostom 

Saint John Chrysostom earned the nickname “Golden-mouthed” because of his great ability to preach. His writings–consisting primarily of his homilies, letters, and commentaries on Scripture– fill more than 20 volumes, making them the largest surviving collection of the early Church. 

Saint John Chrysostom is the patron saint of preachers, orators, and lecturers, as well as education.

Suggested Novena Start Date: September 5
Pray the St. John Chrysostom Novena here.

Saint Basil the Great  

Saint Basil the Great founded one of the first monasteries in Asia Minor. While he is often called “the Father of Eastern monasticism,” his influence spread far beyond the region, even inspiring Benedict’s monastic rule in the West. 

Basil also played an instrumental role in defeating Arianism in the East by helping to develop the Church’s doctrine of the Trinity.

Suggested Novena Start Date: December 24
Pray the St. Basil the Great Novena here.

Saint Gregory of Nazianzus  

Saint Gregory of Nazianzus served as Archbishop of Constantinople during the 4th Century. He convened the Second Ecumenical Council in Constantinople that firmly condemned the Nestorian Heresy that had taken hold at the time and defended Mary’s title of Mother of God and Perpetual Virgin. 

Saint Gregory of Nazianzus also helped shape early Trinitarian Theology, setting the stage for its further development by later theologians. 

Suggested Novena Start Date: December 25
Pray the St. Gregory Novena here.

Saint Thomas Aquinas 

Saint Thomas Aquinas was an Italian Dominican priest who wrote prolifically on philosophy, theology, and Catholic Doctrine. His writings, like the Summa Theologica, have guided the Church in her teachings for centuries and his poetry became well-known hymns still used to praise the Blessed Sacrament. 

Aquinas is the patron saint of Catholic schools, colleges, and universities, as well as theologians, philosophers, students, and booksellers.

Suggested Novena Start Date: January 20
Pray the St. Thomas Aquinas Novena here.

Saint Bonaventure 

The great Franciscan saint, Saint Bonaventure, not only brought peace and order to the Franciscans during a time of great internal conflict, but also a renewed sense of Francis’ spirituality. He is often considered the second founder of the order because of the much needed renewal he brought to them.  

Pope Gregory X insisted Bonaventure accept the role as Archbishop of Albano and sent him to the Second Council of Lyon, where Bonaventure made great contributions toward Church unity. 

Saint Bonaventure earned the nickname the “Seraphic Doctor” because Jesus always remained at the center of his teaching, his writings, and his life.

Suggested Novena Start Date: July 7
Pray the St. Bonaventure Novena here.

Saint Isidore of Seville 

During his time as Archbishop of Seville, Saint Isidore reunited the Church that had been divided by the Visagoths. He almost completely eradicated the Arian heresy in his area and stopped the spread of new heresies. 

Isidore also helped establish Spain as a center of education and culture by emphasizing both the Christian faith and classical education. His encyclopedia, or Etymologiae, remained in use for over nine centuries which led some to refer to him as “the Schoolmaster of the Middle Ages.”

Suggested Novena Start Date: March 27
Pray the St. Isidore Novena here.

Saint Leo I, the Great 

Pope Saint Leo I became the first pope to receive the title of “Great” and it’s easy to see why! Saint Leo had the gift of intellect as well as the ability to bring peace and resolution to conflict. His abilities led him to unanimously be named the Pope in 440.

During his papacy, Leo preached against Pelagianism and Manichaeism, and even persuaded Attila the Hun to stop his attack on Rome. Saint Leo the Great’s papacy has had a significant impact on the Church even until today. 

Suggested Novena Start Date: November 2
Pray the Pope Leo the Great Novena here.

Saint Peter Damian 

After growing up in poverty, Saint Peter Damian became a reforming Benedictine monk. His fervor led him to take on extreme penances, but also to devote himself to studying the Scriptures. Against his desires, he went on to become the abbot of his monastery and eventually, a cardinal. 

Through these roles and through his writing, he helped bring needed reform to the Church, especially among the clergy. Dante even placed him in the highest circles in his Paradiso. 

Suggested Novena Start Date: February 13
Pray the St. Peter Damian Novena here.

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux 

As the founder and abbot of the Abbey of Clairvaux, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux helped spread the Cisertian order throughout Europe. Despite living a life of contemplation at the Abbey, he had a great evangelical fervor and became known for his inspiring preaching and his theological writings. 

The Church remembers Saint Bernard as a Doctor of Mariology, not because of his writing on Our Lady, but because of his great love for her and his deep understanding of her role in the Church. 

Suggested Novena Start Date: August 12
Pray the St. Bernard of Clairvaux Novena here.

Saint Hilary of Poitiers 

After his conversion to Christianity through Scripture, Saint Hilary became a Bishop of Poitiers and a staunch defender of the Church. When Arianism spread throughout the Church, Hilary was exiled for defending the faith and for refusing to condemn Athanasius at the request of the Emperor. 

During his exile, Hilary continued to care for his diocese and wrote his two most important contributions to theology and Church doctrine: De synodis and De trinitate. When his exile ended, Hilary traveled through Greece and Italy preaching against heretics. His love and courage to defend Orthodoxy led to his nickname as “the Hammer of the Arians.”

Suggested Novena Start Date: January 5
Pray the St. Hilary of Poitiers Novena here.

Saint Alphonsus Liguori 

At the age of 16, Saint Alphonsus Liguori received a doctorate in both civil and canon law; however, he soon gave up his practice and became a priest. He later founded the Redemptorists, an order dedicated to preaching and working among the poor.

Over his lifetime, Saint Alphonsus wrote over 100 works on Catholic spirituality and theology. He made some of the most significant contributions to Catholic Moral Theology and successfully defended the Church against the heresy of Jansenism.

Suggested Novena Start Date: July 24
Pray the St. Alphonsus Liguori Novena here.

Saint Francis de Sales 

Saint Francis de Sales became a priest during the time of the Protestant Reformation and attempted to bring those who were lost back to the true faith. Through his teaching and witness, it is believed that he reconverted thousands of Calvinists.

After becoming Bishop of Geneva, Francis became spiritual director to Saint Jane Frances de Chantel, with whom he later founded the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary or the Salesian Sisters. Through his spiritual direction with Jane, he combatted the idea that lay people were not meant for holiness and sainthood–an idea summed up in his most famous work Introduction to the Devout Life.

Suggested Novena Start Date: January 16
Pray the St. Francis de Sales Novena here.

Saint Cyril of Alexandria 

Saint Cyril of Alexandria was an Egyptian bishop and theologian, best known for his role in the Council of Ephesus. During this Council, he strongly condemned the Nestorian heresy that was spreading during this time and helped establish the first Marian Dogma which affirms her title of “Mother of God.”

Suggested Novena Start Date: June 19
Pray the St. Cyril of Alexandria Novena here.

Saint John of the Cross 

Saint John of the Cross, often called “The Mystical Doctor,” founded the Discalced Carmelites along with Saint Teresa of Avila. As tensions rose between the Calced and Discalced Carmelites, a group opposed to the reform imprisoned John for several months; during this time of suffering, he composed a great part of his most famous poem Spiritual Canticle

After his escape, he helped establish several monasteries throughout Spain and continued to write poetry that focused on the soul’s journey to God. His most famous work The Dark Night of the Soul is still considered a poetic masterpiece, not only in Spain, but within the Church.

Suggested Novena Start Date: December 6
Pray the St. John of the Cross Novena here.

Saint Robert Bellarmine 

Saint Robert Bellarmine was an Italian Jesuit scholar and cardinal, as well as a significant figure in the Counter-Reformation. His three-volume Disputations on the Controversies defended the Catholic faith against the arguments of the Protestant reformers.

Ballarmine acted as a spiritual father of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, helped St. Francis de Sales obtain formal approval of his Order, and attempted, though unsuccessfully, to defend Galileo Galilei.

St. Robert Bellarmine is the patron saint of catechists and catechumens.

Suggested Novena Start Date: September 9
Pray the St. Robert Bellarmine Novena here.

Saint Anthony of Padua 

While most often invoked, even among non-Catholics, to help to find lost items, Saint Anthony of Padua’s legacy in the Church goes far beyond that. 

Anthony became the first theologian in the Franciscan order and expertly preached the faith with fervor and eloquence, earning him the nickname “the Evangelical Doctor.” His tongue remains incorrupt as a testament to his great teaching. 

Suggested Novena Start Date: June 5
Pray the St. Anthony Novena here.

Saint Teresa of Ávila 

During her time as a Carmelite, Saint Teresa of Avila had many mystical experiences– seeing visions of both Jesus and Mary. She wrote extensively about her experience with prayer in her well-known works The Way of Perfection and The Interior Castle which have shaped Christian spirituality and our understanding of contemplation. 

Saint Teresa also worked to reform the Carmelite order and founded many convents committed to contemplative prayer. Her numerous contributions to the Church lead Pope Paul VI to name her the first woman Doctor. 

Suggested Novena Start Date: October 7
Pray the St. Teresa of Avila Novena here.

Saint Catherine of Siena 

During her time as a Third Order Dominican, Saint Catherine of Siena experienced several mystical experiences recorded in her Dialogues. She received the stigma (though not visible during her lifetime), and entered into an extraordinary union with God known as a “mystical marriage.”

In addition to her deep prayer life, she also became an influential figure in the Church, boldly calling its leaders, including, the Pope to holiness. Many consider her to have single-handedly ended the Avignon papacy, and helped bring about peace and reconciliation between the Pope and those who opposed him. 

She is one of the four female doctors of the Church. 

Suggested Novena Start Date: April 21
Pray the St. Catherine of Siena Novena here.

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux 

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, known as the Little Flower, was once described as “the greatest saint of modern times.” This privilege may seem surprising for a young woman who spent much of her life as a cloistered French Carmelite; however, her spiritual autobiography Story of a Soul, which describes her “little way” of spiritual perfection, remains an influential and beloved work in the Church.

Suggested Novena Start Date: September 23
Pray the St. Therese Novena here.

St. Irenaeus

Saint Irenaeus was the most recently named Doctor of the Church, despite being one of the earliest born saints on this list. As a bishop and the most prominent theologian of his time, Irenaeus played a primary role in developing Christian theology and defining orthodoxy. 

His major work Against Heresies exposed Gnostic cults and provided thoughtful defense of Christianity; historically it remains important as the first compendium of Christian theology. 

Suggested Novena Start Date: June 20
Pray the St. Irenaeus Novena here.

Which Doctor of the Church do you plan to pray with? Leave a comment and let us know. As always, please feel free to leave your prayer intentions with us below. 

Novenas to Pray When you Want to Grow in Virtue

What is virtue? “A virtue is an habitual and firm disposition to do the good.” A person with virtue “pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions.” (CCC 1803) 

So why should you try to grow in virtue? Why does it matter? There are many reasons, such as improving prayer life, being a better friend/spouse/parent, and rejecting sin more easily; but St. Gregory of Nyssa said it best: “The goal of a virtuous life is to become like God.”

The Catechism has identified four cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. (CCC 1805) They are also known as human virtues as they are tied to our intellect, emotions, passions, and actions. 

The three theological virtues are faith, hope, and charity. They are the “foundation for Christian moral activity” (CCC 1813) helping us to live in right relationship with God.

The Church in her wisdom has given us seven capital virtues, which can be utilized as balms for the seven deadly or capital sins. Growing in these virtues helps us to overcome sin. The seven capital virtues are: humility, generosity, meekness, diligence, brotherly love, temperance, and chastity.

Here are some saints who exemplified what it means to be virtuous along with a novena you can pray. You can pray for growth in all virtues or for a specific one you feel you’re especially in need of.

Saint Basil: Prudence

“Prudence must precede every action which we undertake; for, if prudence be wanting, there is nothing, however good it may seem, which is not turned into evil.” -St. Basil

Saint Basil the Great was a bishop in the early church. He fought against heresy and contributed to monastic life in the church. As a theologian and intellectual, he exemplified prudence, and he will pray for you to as well. You can pray the Novena to Saint Basil the Great to grow in virtue.

Saint Martin de Porres: Justice

St. Martin de Porres was a Dominican lay brother in the 1500s-1600s. He cared for the poor and sick, treating them with dignity. He also endured mistreatments and injustices throughout his life because of his race and status. You can pray for an increase in the virtue of justice by praying the Novena to Saint Martin de Porres.

Saint Augustine: Fortitude

“Fortitude is the disposition of soul which enables us to despise all inconveniences and the loss of things not in our power.” –St. Augustine

Saint Augustine fell into a life of sin after being raised in the faith. He is a saint who struggled but persisted, and eventually came back to God. Pray the Novena to St. Augustine to grow in fortitude.

Saint Paul: Temperance

“If you live according to the flesh you shall die; but if by the spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live” (-St. Paul, Romans 8:13).

Temperance requires mastering instincts and desires and having moderation when it comes to things. St. Paul also wrote about having a thorn in his flesh (2 Cor. 12:7–10); he had to master himself and rely on God. You can pray for an increase in the virtue of temperance with the Novena to Saint Paul.   

Saint Teresa of Calcutta: Faith

St. Teresa of Calcutta wrote that she did not feel God’s presence to her for long periods of time; she experienced darkness, emptiness, and distance when she desired closeness to Christ. Even so, she kept faith in God. She believed and she led others to believe too. Pray for an increase in faith with this Novena to St. Teresa of Calcutta

Padre Pio: Hope

St. Pio of Pietrelcina is famous for saying “Pray, hope, and don’t worry.” He was a priest in the 1900s who bore the stigmata. Throughout his life and priesthood, he served and offered hope to many people. You can pray the Novena to Padre Pio for an increase in the virtue of hope.

Saint Therese of Lisieux: Charity

“Without love, deeds, even the most brilliant, count as nothing.” ― St. Therese of Lisieux

Charity means loving God above all else and having our love for God affect how and what we do; it is taking Jesus at his word when He commanded us to “love one another, just as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) Saint Therese of Lisieux wrote that her vocation was love; she exemplified charity. Pray this Novena to St. Therese of Lisieux for an increase in charity.

St. Vincent de Paul: Humility

“The most powerful weapon to conquer the devil is humility. For, as he does not know at all how to employ it, neither does he know how to defend himself from it.” -Saint Vincent de Paul

The virtue of humility overcomes the sin of pride. The devil’s sin was pride, so increasing in humility elevates us toward God and away from satan. Saint Vincent de Paul humbled himself and served the poor for much of his life; pray the Novena to Saint Vincent de Paul to grow in humility. 

Saint Nicholas: Generosity

The virtue of generosity overcomes the sin of greed. God calls us to be generous, not only with our money, but with our time, our resources, our gifts, and more. Jesus told the rich young man to “go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” (Matthew 19:21)

Saint Nicholas was a bishop in the early church. He is known for his acts of generosity; one instance is when he tossed some gold coins through an open window for a family in financial need. You can pray this Novena to Saint Nicholas to help you grow in generosity.

Saint Francis de Sales: Meekness

The virtue of meekness overcomes the sin of anger. Matthew 5 tells us “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” 

St. Fransis de Sales was a bishop in the 1500s-1600s. Even though he naturally was quickly riled to anger, he was largely known for his meekness. He overcame his natural tendencies and grew in the virtue of meekness and you can too. Pray this novena to St. Francis de Sales for an increase in meekness.

Saint Monica: Diligence 

The virtue of diligence overcomes the sin of sloth. When we don’t want to fulfill what we are called to do, we must be diligent and persevere. 

Saint Monica was the mother to Saint Augustine. She was diligent in prayer for her son to return to his faith; for years she prayed for this, and eventually her prayer was granted. You can pray this Novena to Saint Monica for an increase in the virtue of diligence.

St. Maximilian Kolbe: Brotherly Love (Kindness)

The virtue of brotherly love or kindness overcomes the sin of envy. Sometimes it can be difficult to be truly happy for others when they have or are what we want, but God calls us to do just that. We are called to be selfless, rejoice when others rejoice, and love those around us. 

Saint Maximilian Kolbe is an incredible example of brotherly love because he selflessly gave his own life to save another. He gave without receiving anything in return. You can pray this Novena to St. Maximilian Kolbe to grow in brotherly love.

St. Thomas Aquinas: Temperance

The virtue of temperance overcomes the sin of gluttony. Temperance applies to “desires and pleasures of touch” according to Aquinas. 

St. Thomas Aquinas is a great saint for temperance because after he entered the Dominican order, his family attempted to tempt him to leave by sending a prostitute to him. He was tempted, but did not give in; the story goes that he chased her out of the room with a firebrand from the fireplace! You can pray this Novena to St. Thomas Aquinas for an increase in the virtue of temperance.

St. Agnes: Chastity

The virtue of chastity overcomes the sin of lust. Saint Agnes at a young age dedicated herself to virginity for love of God. Many men wanted to marry her, but her refusals ended in her being handed over to the authorities as a Christian. She was martyred in the year 304. Pray this Novena to St. Agnes for an increase in chastity.

Answered Prayers from the St. Monica Novena, 2022

Thank you so much for joining us in praying the St. Monica Novena!

If you’ve had any of your prayers answered throughout this novena, you can share those with us all below.

We’re praying for you every day!